Dr M says he is still relevant

(The Malaysian Insider) – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed has insisted his views are still relevant despite having stepped down as prime minister eight years ago.

Saying although many people criticised him as such and called him conservative, the policies introduced during his premiership had benefited many people and its positive effects could still be seen today.

“In my blog there are Malays who say that I am old and irrelevant. But I know my views are still relevant because those who say such things, would not be where they are without (government) assistance,” the country’s longest-serving premier said in an interview published by Mingguan Malaysia today.

The Umno-owned newspaper quoted him as saying that those who criticised him actually benefited from pro-Bumiputera polices under the New Economic Policy (NEP) introduced in 1970.

Dr Mahathir, a staunch proponent of Malay rights, has been heavily criticised by civil rights groups as well as opposition lawmakers, and has even been labelled as racist.

Today, he said Malays did not take away all of the rights of the Chinese under the NEP.

“Through the policy, we gave half to the Malays and gave some to the Chinese as well.

“But Malays don’t dare say that now, that we gave to the Chinese in the past,” he added.

After stepping down as PM eight years ago, Dr Mahathir had been vociferous in his criticism of the government policies of his handpicked successor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He has also sporadically spoken out on some of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s policies.